4

Does French have an equivalent as referring to a certain decade as the plural of the tens place number the same way we could refer to decades as the plural for the tens place figure as in '80s or the '90s etc? If I say Les soixante-dixes or similar would that make sense?

1
  • 1
    Dixes wouldn't work anyway. Words ending with an S or an X are invariable so they are never pluralized in ‑SES or -XES. Le dix → les dix
    – jlliagre
    Commented Apr 28, 2023 at 19:37

1 Answer 1

12

Les années soixante-dix is a usual figure of speech. I think années plays here the same role as -s in English, since simply les soixante-dix doesn't seem to make much sense (unless it appears in a context, from which it is clear what one is referring to - see examples in the comments.)

7
  • 1
    Cf « les trente glorieuses ». Ofc the period doesn't start in 1930. I don't know if there are other examples of spans of years being referred to like this, or if it entered the language by itself. (Années is clearly implied by the gender). I'm also obviously not french.
    – 2e0byo
    Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 12:08
  • On its own, would les [numéro] not work the same as English ‘the [number]’ (without the plural), requiring some sort of head noun being understood from context? For example, in a novel you might imagine a criminal syndicate with 14 members being known as The Fourteen in English; would it be natural for them to be known as Les Quatorze in French as well? Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 12:10
  • 6
    @2e0byo « les trente glorieuses » designates the thirty year period between 1945 and 1975, and has nothing to do with « les années trente », which designates the thirties :)
    – Jenny
    Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 12:14
  • 1
    @JanusBahsJacquet If it is clear from the context what one is referring to, the number alone would make sense - e.g., 300
    – Roger V.
    Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 12:15
  • 1
    @MichaelLugo since the discussion has clearly moved away from decades (to which the OP and my answer are referring to) I have expanded the last sentence, regarding the use of article + number.
    – Roger V.
    Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 14:16

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.